Alchemia nurtures the creative expression of individuals with disabilities as a vehicle for personal growth and accomplishment.
The vision of Alchemia is for a future in which all people with disabilities are valued and contributing members of society.
Alchemia began in the living room of one woman, with one single mission: to create artistic opportunities where none existed. Founded in 1998 by Lorin Kaufman and Julia MacDougal, the program forged a new method of visibility for a group that is so often overlooked: performance. Recognizing a lack of opportunities for adults with disabilities to share their creative passions, Alchemia used performance art to encourage one woman to give voice to her experience. In that living room, with our very first participant, a one-woman show was born. Those who witnessed the process were profoundly touched by her wisdom, her humor, and her courage.
Since those early days, Alchemia has expanded to over 100 clients, with programs ranging from drama, dance, puppetry, media arts, writing, painting, ceramics, and fiber arts to volunteer work, job placements, and mentorships. Our performance artists have sung, danced, and acted before a variety of audiences across California. Our visual artists have exhibited their work in solo and group shows from San Francisco’s De Young Museum to the VisQ gallery in Osaka, Japan. Most importantly, our participants have developed long-lasting, deeply rooted relationships with each other, the community, and their own creative processes.
Statement of Philosophy
Alchemia recognizes that individuals with disabilities have the same basic needs and desires as any other person, and the same human rights.
Our philosophy is that every individual has a voice, and that this collective of unique discourse complements each other in ways that are valuable, powerful, and rooted in the deeper relationships we form with our neighbors. We believe in the beauty of wabi-sabi, the “perfectly imperfect” balance of intuition, grace, originality, and artistry. We believe that each of us is perfect, regardless of the unique challenges we face as individuals.
Alchemia, the Latin word for Alchemy, is the ancient craft of transforming lead into gold. Similarly, our organization uses the expressive arts to find creatively raw material, and transform it into works that enrich the individual and educate the local and global community.
Alchemia is committed to providing a socially and artistically nourishing environment in which participants can develop and sustain strong interpersonal relationships, pursue individual creative goals, and explore their unique dreams.
We are staffed with professional artists, who recognize the need to foster originality, confidence, and capability in each individual student. We are all deeply committed to the development of the artistic skills of our participants in a sustained, gentle, and affirmative way.
Thank you for your interest in joining the Alchemia team. We strive to provide the highest quality arts and vocational training for our members, and recognize that our staff members lie at the heart of this goal.
Alchemia is in search of a new Program Coordinator for our Sonoma County site. The ideal candidate will have a passion for supporting the personal growth and creativity of both staff and participants, the ability to set and meet daily priorities, manage multiple staff and participant schedules with flexibility and initiative, and possess a professional and cheerful attitude. (read more)
To apply for this position, please contact:
Liz Jahren, Program Director:
If you are a professional artist interested in connecting with Alchemia, please contact:
Elizabeth Clary, Executive Director:
How can I join Alchemia as a participant?
Thanks for your interest in our program! If you would like to join Alchemia, please contact our Program Director to arrange a tour.
Liz Jahren, 707.978.3229
We would love to meet you!
How can I join Alchemia as a staff member or volunteer?
Can I visit your programs to see the artists at work?
When I buy a piece of artwork or a performance ticket, where is the money spent?
One of our main goals is to provide non-traditional vocational opportunities for our members, and a big part of our success in this area lies in art and ticket sales.
Each individual artist earns a portion of the total sales of their work, allowing them the chance to earn an income and to feel proud of their own accomplishments. Our performance artists earn a portion of the total ticket sales from their shows. The rest of the money is allocated back to the program for purchasing new art materials, costumes, instruments, and for meeting other project needs.
How can I support Alchemia?
Alchemia hosts classes and programming in Marin and Sonoma counties. If you are interested in learning more about our program, please contact:
Elizabeth Clary, Executive Director
Liz Jahren, Artistic Director
Terra Mickens, Program Manager, Marin County
Our corporate offices are located at:
394 Tesconi Court
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
You may also visit our art gallery in downtown Petaluma to purchase artwork, see some of our artists in action, and learn more about our organization.
The Alchemia Gallery
111 Kentucky St.
Beth.Hibbard, Gallery Coordinator
111 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA 94952
Board of Directors
Phil is a Managing Director and CFO for Equius Partners, a financial advisory firm that focuses on Asset Class Investment. He earned his B.A. from Harvard University, and his M.B.A. in Finance and a Masters in Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. Phil’s career path prominently highlights his strength in understanding financial economics, and his passion for studying the ways in which human behavior affects wealth. His commitment to the community has led him to be an active board member for four different nonprofit organizations: Alchemia; Project Redwood, a partnership that applies venture philanthropy to organizations alleviating poverty; No Bully, which develops students’ social and emotional intelligence; and Grace’s Kids, providing nutritional, educational, and medical support to children in Africa.
Phil is the father of three children, and is a master swimmer. He has been an integral part of Alchemia’s Board of Directors for over 15 years, and we are honored by his dedication and passionate support.
Karen is a lifelong supporter of the arts, and has dedicated much of her personal time to supporting organizations that promote self-expression, enhance the visibility of her local artistic community, and honor the importance of the performing and visual arts. She has been personally involved with various theater companies, and has worn the hat of Producer, Prop Designer, Advisor, and Fundraiser for a number of nonprofit theater companies. Performance art is a passion for her whole family, as Karen’s husband and their daughter both enjoy working on-stage and behind-the-scenes for many different local productions.
Karen has been an active board member for The Playhouse in San Anselmo, the Novato Theater Company, the Stapleton School of the Performing Arts, the US First Federal Credit Union, and the Woodacre Swim and Tennis Club. She also serves as Deaconess for her church, and is the sales chairperson for the Church rummage sale.
Jacquelyn is a recipient of the Henry B. Betts award, established to honor a single individual in the nation each year for significant work in improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. She was a founder, and the first Executive Director, of the Center for Accessible Technology in Berkeley, CA. Her groundbreaking work in technology-based solutions provided the foundation for the Alliance for Technology Access, formed in 1987 with Apple Computer.
Jackie’s passion for this work is personal: her inspiration stems from the challenges and rewards she has experienced while finding appropriate technology for, and supporting and promoting the independent lifestyle of, Shoshana, her daughter with disabilities. Shoshana was Alchemia’s first member, and Jackie has been a committed spokesperson for our organization from the very beginning.
Jan has an extensive background in public relations, management, and HR. She currently serves as the Manager for Eric Elfman Coaching, a local small business that specializes in writing consultations and publication advice. Jan has experience in broadcast radio, and a deep passion for the expressive arts. Her work at The Getty in Los Angeles allowed her to focus her philanthropic efforts on promoting and educating the public regarding specific topics vital to the visual arts community.
Jan has served as a member of the boards for ReDiscover, in Culver City, and the Topanga Peace Alliance. Jan is a strong supporter of the mission of Alchemia, and has invested in the growth and development of our retail art gallery through community outreach and the development of informative PR material.
Ian is a certified Emyth Business Coach, and an experienced executive who has spent more than 20 years in financial leadership roles with a number of public companies. More recently, Ian has been providing coaching services to small business clients in the US and Europe, helping them to improve systems and operations. He studied Chemistry at Reading University in England, before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant.
A native of Liverpool, England, Ian has lived in the U.S. for the last 20 years. He has previously served as Treasurer on the boards for Novato Youth Soccer and the Hamilton PTA, and is excited to be part of the Alchemia family.
Michael is a visual, performance, and literary artist, and has been a participant in Alchemia since 2005. He provides the critical perspective of an individual artist and student to our Board of Directors, and feels he can represent the voice of his peers regarding programming and curriculum enhancement.
Michael’s literary work has appeared in several anthologies and magazines, including WE magazine, and he has been a member of the Alchemia Theatre Troupe for over six years. In 2014, Michael exhibited a one-man show in the Alchemia Gallery, which featured his paintings, drawings, and ceramics.
Michael is an employee of Whole Foods Market, a position he acquired in 2006 with the support of Alchemia.
Alchemia Financial Statements and Reporting
The Board of Directors made the decision to change it’s Fiscal Year from a calendar year to a July 1-June 30 fiscal year in order to match the State of California’s fiscal year. This change resulted in the need for the 18 month Audit and 990 tax form filings below: